Shovel Shaped “Indian” Teeth

Indian Shovel TeethI’ve been asked the question about what shovel teeth really look like.  Finding good photos is really difficult.

One of our followers, Fletcher Freeman, who has contributed several articles, has also written about “Indian Teeth” on the Chowanoke Descendants Community website.  As mentioned in the article, “Thick Hair, Small Boobs, Shovel Shaped Teeth and More,” this mutation for shovel shaped teeth is an Asian mutation that happened about 35,000 years ago.  The good news is that because it’s fairly pronounced, it’s easy to determine if you have it or not, and is a good indicator of Native heritage.

Fletcher was kind enough to share with us a photo of his own shovel shaped teeth.  I have shovel shaped teeth too, all 4 of my top middle teeth.  In addition, they have a bony shaped ridge near the gumline that is very pronounced and extends down over part of the shovel shape, to about one fourth of the tooth.

Since this is a hereditary trait, and easy to discern, it’s also interesting to ask your parents and other family members if they have this trait.  Just be sure to ask while they still have their teeth:)  Dentures don’t count!

Fletcher, thank you so much for sharing!  Your teeth are now famous!

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Anthropology, DNA, Teeth. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Shovel Shaped “Indian” Teeth

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  4. lorieadair says:

    I have this trait but received DNA results that indicate 0% Native American DNA. What gives? My great aunt indicated my great-grandfather was part Native and the shovel-shaped teeth seems to support her claim…

    • anon says:

      You may have other ancestry. This trait is not limited to Native Americans. People from other regions of the world, like the eastern part of Asia, also have it. During the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, there were many invasions of Europe from around what is today Mongolia, and some of those peoples settled in Europe, like the Tatars. Maybe you have significant Tatar ancestry.

    • JC Sorell says: is notorious for not showing true Native American DNA in their results. They may at some future date be able to show it.
      The posterior shovel shape on front upper teeth is found in many eastern northern woodland Natives, but there are also many variations [wider or deeper or more narrow etc.] to this among different tribes that are not woodland Natives of eastern USA. I used to read medical journals as a hobby. I worked various medical fields and it’s just a way of staying on top of new discoveries. I read an article many years ago that included comparative photos of spatulated and pitted front teeth of different Native tribes. Unfortunately I can not remember which magazine or medical journal I read this from.
      My own ancestry includes Huron Native DNA because I know this from family. Whether Ancestry,com would find empirical proof of it or not is another matter. My upper front teeth and those of all my siblings had deep narrow pits on the lingual side of the teeth. Our family dentist from childhood insisted we had deformed front upper teeth. My father had this trait too. None of my children along with most of their cousins have inherited the trait. My oldest sister’s three oldest children carry the trait but her youngest two do not. The older children’s father also must have had the trait. We know he was almost full Huron. He had to have dentures at a young age. I suspect the trait disappears by the fourth generation and is not carried down after that point just as the trait of palpebral eye slant (Asian eyes) will disappear by the fourth generation when the successive generations are produced from non-trait carrying people.

    • Cynthia says:

      I heard the Native American doesn’t show up on our DNA because does not test for Native American DNA!

  5. NBOB says:

    I have this trait on my teeth and have been told I have native ancestors on both sides of my family, but way back in the 1830″s. who do you recommend to do accurate DNA tests.

  6. All four of my incisors are shovel shaped. Also I know I am of Native American heritage. Blackfoot to be exact,. But this just confirms it even more. I also have small boobs….didn’t know that was a trait either. Interesting!
    If you want to see pictures I would be more than glad to send them.

  7. Jackie says:

    I have a semi-shovel on two of my incisors (left central and right lateral) while the other two are flat. I also have a prominent carabelli cusp on my first upper right molar (though I don’t know if I have it too on my first upper left molar since it was removed years ago). Incidentally a lot of my physical features don’t fit in the East/Southeast Asian physical characteristics. My hair strands is thin, easy to dye in lighter colors without bleaching it and is naturally wavy. I struggle to find the right shampoo and conditioner because I find the local shampoos/conditioners here to be too much for my hair. My boobs are not small and my hips and butt are prominent. But at the same time, I have a type 4 skin color (aka brown skin). I’m Filipino by the way.

  8. Dave Sullivan says:

    Well thank you for confirming what i already suspected. I too have Huron ancestry and i was annoyed that failed to pick that up. I sent them my thoughts on that point and they revised my DNA report to reflect the N.A. part of my heritage. I have the center and outer shovel insisors and a slightly darker tinge to my skin colour. I cant lay claim to smaller boobs since boobs don’t run on the male side of the family. 🙂

  9. meg thomson says:

    Thanks for this feedback. Apparently, in addition to shovel-shaped teeth, those with Native American ancestry also often have a convex palate (mine looks like half a walnut shell was stuck to the roof of my mouth). All my siblings have this, too.
    And how about the curved pinky finger; anyone?

  10. Mary PAULINE Sollars Duke says:

    MY SURNAME FOUND W/BLACKFOOT in Browning Montana, also connect to VANN family
    and Cherokee Sellers,Sollars Ancestry says I am 30% Amer. Ind. Forgot eyes are gray-green.
    Trying to locate my roots.

    • Hiona says:

      When I was young my Mom had her Ivory soap carved tooth homework rejected because it was “Shovel shaped”, she had three G-parents that were native. (She was going to be a dental hygienist). The truly odd thing is the way ” native” is qualified in the USA; it only seems to if the right generation and members of “A” tribe can be proven. Otherwise you end up an “Uncivilized” native and not counted.

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